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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 16, 2009 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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it strengthens medicare by reducing unnecessary spending, lowering prescription costs and closing the so-called doughnut hole. it attacks -- it rewards wellness an prevention by expanding access to advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle by practicing good nutrition increasing physical activity, and quitting smoking. it eliminates unfair discrimination against patients by preventing insurance firms from denying certain coverage to women or to individuals with preexisting conditions. it promotes flexibility and innovation in the new health care technology. it introduces a self-funded voluntary choice for long-term services for support for the elderly and disabled.
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most of all it saves lives by providing affordable, quality care for individuals families, and small businesses. mr. president in my state of massachusetts, because of our successful reform, the rate of the uninsured has been reduced to 2.7% of the population. in the lives of -- and the lives of thousands of citizens of our commonwealth have been immeasurably improved. carole's case is one example. carole did not realize the importance of having quality affordable health insurance until she was confronted with the gravity of her own health problems. she was a 24-year-old woman suffering from seizures an desperately in need of help. she remembers have occasional seizures as a child. they occurred mostly when she was tired. as carole grew older the seizures became more frequent. one day she had an episode when
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driving her car. fortunately, her passenger was able to assist her. but that frightening incident convinced carole to seek professional help. she learned about the -- the assistance of health care for all, a massachusetts organization dedicated to make quality, affordable health care accessible to everyone. she applied and was declared eligible for commonwealth care. and she immediately went to see a specialist and was given the health care she needed. carole expressed her gratitude in these words, i quote -- "i definitely feel blessed to be a massachusetts resident. i can't thank health care for all and mass health enough for all the support given to me. the help line counselors literally held my hand and brought me to live a healthy life where there is no fear or embarrassment. but there is knowledge and total control of my seizures. so thank you so much, all of
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you who make this happen in people's lives." we should all think about carole and the millions of working families across the country when we vote for this legislation. it is our responsibility to enact laws that make a positive difference in people's lives. and that is what this bill is all about. senator ted kennedy envision add better america -- envisioned a better america where, as he said every america north south, east, west, young old will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege. this is a historic moment in our national life. we have a chance to finally complete the work that a respected republican president called for over a century ago.
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quality health care for all has always been needed in america but never more than now. the finish line is clearly in sight. the momentum and the energy are with us and it is our obligation to seize this historic moment. every member of this body is aware of the valiant fight senator kennedy waged for his own health during the last 15 months of his life. many of you saw him after receiving radiation an chemotherapy in the morning in boston walk into this chamber that he loved to cast a deciding vote in the afternoon on the issue he proudly called the cause of his life. while being treated at mass general hospital, senator kennedy met a woman named karen list. her daughter, emily, was one of many patients receiving the
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similar regiment of exhausting cancer treatment. they came from different walks of life and cancer are touched them all. in september of 2008, after emily's long summer of treatments, karen wrote about senator kennedy and other patients he had met during his treatment. thee wrote "now it is almost fall and little caroline is starting kindergarten. senator kennedy who came from a hospital bed to speak at the convention, is planning his return to the senate in january. alex an apache helicopter pilot is back at fort campbell and expects to be deployed to afganistan in the new year. and emily hopes to be well enough by spring to return to her life in london. the dream as senator kennedy promised does live on. " karen wrote.
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mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the article by karen list in "the daily hampshire gazette" be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. kirk kirk karen's statement was a letter of hope. their age did not matter. their economic status did not matter. mr. kirk: each received the highest quality of health care available, and so it should be for all our people. senator kennedy understood that we are all connected to one another. he often referred to president lincoln's words about our common humanity and the good that can come to us all when touched by the better angels of our nature. and he knew that on no issue are our futures more connected than on health care. ted kennedy's voice still echos in this chamber.
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his spirit of hope and strength, of determination and perseverence is still felt here. he said, and i quote -- "for all my years in public life, i have believed that america must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. there is no end to that journey. only the next great voyage. we know the future will outlast all of us. but i believe that all of us will live on in the future we make." let each of us in this senate be moved by the better angels of our nature. and make that future a better one for our generation and for generations to come. as ted kennedy said, 40 years ago. all we need is the will. this is our time, mr. president.
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let us pass this legislation now. i ask unanimous consent that the speech delivered by senator edward m. kennedy on december 16, 1969, be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection, it is so ordered. mr. kirk: thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts is recognized. mr. kirk: may i ask that the time reserved be divided equally between the majority and the minority and i suggest the
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absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: without objection, it is so ordered. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. johnson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota is recognized. mr. johnson: i rise to express my support -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. johnson: i move that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. johnson: i rise to express my support for the patient protection and affordable care act and to encourage my colleagues to support this effort to address our health care system's immediate and long-term challenges in a fiscally responsible manner. for decades attempts have been made to reform the way our health care system works. but only incremental changes have been made. the result is a broken system where costs are rising out of control and millions of americans are priced out of the health insurance market. in the last eight years, health
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care premiums have grown four times faster than wages. if health care costs continue to rise at the current rates without reform, it is projected that the average south dakota family will be paying nearly nearly $17,000 by 2016. that is a 74% increase over the current premium costs that so many already struggle to afford. throughout the ongoing health reform discussion, i have heard from far too many south dakotaians who currently face barriers in access in quality health care. this can be due to ex out-of-pocket costs, having no coverage, being denied coverage by insurance
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companies or limited or no health care providers in their area. the patient protection and affordable care act addresses these barriers in part by extending access to affordable and meaningful health insurance to all americans. this legislation sends up on behalf of the american people and puts an end to insurance industry abuses that have denied coverage to hard-working americans when they need it most. insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage for a preexisting condition. and won't be able to drop coverage just because a patient gets sick. reform will ensure that families always have guaranteed choices of quality affordable health insurance whether they lose their job switch jobs, move, or get sick. the bill allows americans to
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shop for the best health care plan to meet their needs. and provides tax credits to help those who need assistance. it strengthens our health care workforce, improves the quality of care, and reduces waste fraud, and abuse in the health care system. every american is adversely affected in some fashion by the shortcomings of our existing system and far too many have a false sense of security. the system costs us lives and it costs us money. if we fail to act, health care costs will consume a greater and greater share of our nation's economy and have tremendous potential to cripple our nation's future. the patient protection and affordable care act places our
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nation on a more sustainable financial path. the nonpartisan congressional budget office projects that this health reform bill will reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion in the next ten years and as much as $650 billion in the decade after that. c.b.o. also projects that this bill will result in health care coverage for more than 94% of legal residents in our nation. our citizens deserve this basic security while improving current medicare benefits. this bill is the product of months of research, committee deliberation and partisan negotiation. i have listened to some of my colleagues' claims that they
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support health reform but yet object to this approach. these protests echo those made nearly 50 years ago when a new program called medicare was proposed to provide meaningful health benefits to seniors. the increasing cost of health care is unsustainable and the do-nothing approach hurts all americans by robbing us of this historic opportunity to stop talking about problems and finally find a solution. this bill is not perfect but a "yes" vote will allow the conference committee a chance to improve it. the u.s. is the only nation among industrialized democracyies to not have some form of national health care, yet the senate republican party is attempting to deny us the right to work -- to vote this historic
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legislation up or down. they want to kill it even before it has the chance to go to conference. i urge my colleagues to support the patient protection and affordable care act and i yield the floor. mr. president i ask that the -- that the time be charged equally equally. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the senator from ohio is recognized. mr. voinovich: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i've been coming to the floor to remind my colleagues and the american people about the fiscal
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realities that our nation faces and to explain how this health reform legislation would make our fiscal situation worse and our economy suffer even more. i've been here before to highlight how this bill is chock-full of gimmicks to hide its true unimaginable costs. and as i've said before on the floor of the senate, as a form he mayor former -- former mayor, former governor, ma of people have come to me over the years and said, "mayor, you have to do this," "governor, you have to do this," and the plea that they had was genuine and the need that they expressed was genuine but the fact of matter is that we couldn't afford what they were asking us to do and i had to say no. and, unfortunately this legislation, in my opinion will increase the cost of health care care drive up our national debt
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debt and contribute to unbalanced budgets as far as the eye can see here in the united states. as a former governor, and when chairman of the national governors' association past chairman of the national league of cities, one gimmick i'm particularly concerned about is the one that puts 14 million additional individuals into the medicaid program and then asks the states to pick up a portion of the tab. i'm very familiar with what unfunded mandates can do to state and local governments and want to highlight some of the potential consequences of the medicaid expansion for my colleagues. at a $374 billion cost to federal taxpayers the health care bill before us would expand medicaid coverage to all people under 133% of the federal
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poverty level and because medicaid costs are shared by the federal and state governments the states will be on the hook for $25 billion that this expansion during the first 10 years. now, to put the $25 billion into perspective, let me explain a minute -- let me spend a minute explaining the current fiscal situation of many states in the country. most states like my state and i'm sure the president's state are struggling to make ends meet. i've never seen anything like it in my entire life. according to the national governors' association, the states are in the deepest and longest economic downturn since the great depression. in the first two quarters of 2009 state revenues were down 11.7 and 16.7% respectively. at the same time medicaid spending which already makes up an average, approximately 22% of states' budgets on average is growing and enrollment in the program is skyrocketing.
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at the levels that it's at today, because more and more people are becoming eligible for medicaid under the current federal law. in ohio, for example, where the unemployment rate is hovering around 10.5% 15 4,000 ohioans enrolled in the medicaid program last year alone an 8% increase over last year. this is hard to believe but medicaid now provides health coverage to nearly 2 million ohioans, almost one out of five residents. unbelievable. recognizing this increased demand states have had some help from the federal government. and earlier this year, congress provided $87 billion in federal aid to states in the so-called stimulus bill to help states deal with medicaid costs. yet this money was not intended to last forever. as it stands right now in december 2010, states will
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face -- that's next december -- states will face a steep budget cliff when the temporary medicaid payments coming from 9 stimulus package expire. -- from the stimulus package expire. and in facing this reality governors across the country are already wondering how they cover the costs of their existing programs. i recently met with ray schipak who's the executive director of the national governors' association. he said, senator governor, mayor, he said, we're going to need some help when the money runs out or we won't be able to handle the medicaid challenges that we have. not surprisingly, my state's current governor, ted strickland, a democrat, has told me that if med scaid expanded, he -- medicaid is expanded, he hopes the federal government will assume most, if not all the costs. in fact, he told the columbus dispatch that he has warned officials many washington that -- quote -- "with our financial challenges right now we are not in a position to
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accept additional medicaid responsibilities." i suspect that almost every governor in the country would make that same statement to us here in the senate. and by the way, this is, you know both republican and democrat governors both. i ask mr. president: how can we in good conscience move forward with this bill and the new mandate it places on states? how can we force the states to make the difficult choices that we are unwilling or unable to make here in washington. washington? pass it on to them, we'll pay for it for awhile, then you guys pick up the cost. mr. president, i served the people of ohio as governor for eight years and i was forced to cut my budget in the beginning four times. i'll never forget it. they were out 5,000 people outside my office screaming because we had made it more difficult or increased the cost of tuition for our colleges. mr. voinovich: hi to make countless difficult -- i had to make countless difficult decisions across the board to be fiscally responsible
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i. understand the -- responsible. i understand the demands of soaring health care costs and as i called that program then, it devoured -- medicaid devoured up to 30% of our state budget. and i referred that to the pacman. i think some people remember the pacman. that was the pacman just eating up money like crazy. it took away money from primary and secondary education higher education, roads bridges country and local government projects and safety service programs that we wanted to provide for the citizens of ohio. we had to do it. it was a mandate and it just sucked up that money and that meant that we didn't have money for higher ed, secondary-primary education and some of the other responsibilities of the state. with this experience it became particularly -- i became particularly concerned with the cost of federal mandates and i worked tirelessly with state and local governments to help pass the unfunded mandates reform act act. in fact, the first time i ever set foot on the floor of the senate is the day the unfunded
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mandates bill passed the united states senate. it was a wonderful day for ohio and for this country. i was in the rose garden representing state and local governments when president clinton signed the legislation into law in 1995. after that experience, you can imagine, mr. president how it pains me to be standing here today debating legislation that provides for the largest single expansion of the medicaid program in our country's history. and a brand-new fiscal liability for states. and it'sat a time when the states can least afford it. i have serious concerns that if this bill becomes law and states are required to take on more just as the extra stimulus funds disappear -- which they're going to havedo or we'll have to come up with the money -- congress will be forced to spend billions more to keep the medicaid safety net from falling -- or from failing completely in not-too-distant
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future. so what i'm basically saying is that when the stimulus money ends in december of next year the governors are going to be down here with the bathtub asking us to fill it, because if we don't do it, they're going to have to knock off thousands of people millions in the country because they haven't got the money to provide for the program. now, providing extra dollars to states -- and i -- i -- i predict it's going to happen. it will become an annual ritual for congress. just like the doctors' fix has become an annual ritual for congress. every year they come in, we're not going to cut the reimbursement -- next year it's, what 23%? we're going to fill a hole and the governors -- and the governors are going to be asking for the same kind of health. it's -- it's not only a mandate for elm. it's going to become a mandate for us, at a time mr. president, when we're least able to handle anything like that. so as a former governor and a
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former mayor former county commissioner i urge my colleagues to consider the impact this bill will have on their respective states. think about it. talk to your governor. see what's going to do -- see what it's going to do to your state. and i hope each of my colleagues will give careful thought to the potentially devastating effects it could have on each of their state budgets and to consult, as i said with their governors and talk about the fact that if this happens, what's going to happen in terms of the pacman eating up more money in their state and their inability to take care of primary and secondary education higher education and all the other responsibilities that state government has. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. inouye: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii is recognized. mr. inouye: i rise to address
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the department of defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010. mr. president, as you know, this afternoon the the senate received this measure from the house which represents a compromise between the the bill passed by the house last july and what we passed this past october. since passage of the senate measure, vice chairman cochran and i and our staffs have spent countless hours in discussion with our colleagues in the house to flesh out the differences between our two bills. the product that the senate will consider represents the work of our discussions. while this is a house measure, i can assure my colleagues that it is a very fair and balanced product. the defense appropriations portion of this measure totals $636.3 billion in discretionary
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spending including more than $128 billion for the cost of our ongoing efforts in iraq and afghanistan. in total the defense bill is $3.8 billion below the request of the president and within the subcommittee's allocation. this bill represents the hard work over the past year of all the members of the defense subcommittee. it contains funds which we believe will best meet the needs of the men and women who volunteer to serve our nation in the military. the bill provides funding to increase their pay by 3.4%. it provides more than $30 billion to care for their health and the health of their families. it provides support to families with loved ones serving in harm's way overseas and funding to ensure that their workplace and quality of life back home
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are protected. of equal importance, the funding in this bill ensures that our forces in the field have the equipment and other tools required to meet their missions. funding has been added to the forces to provide more mrap vehicles to protect our forces from i.e.d.'s in afghanistan. funds are provided for more medical evacuation and combat rescue helicopters to save our wounded troops. funds have been added to sustain production of the c-17 program so that our forces in the field can be adequately resupplied no matter where they're based. this bill enhances research and lifesaving technologies and increases funds to care for our wounded personnel. it fully funds the priorities of
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secretary gates and our military commanders. while i know some will criticize the fact that the funds have been included at the request of members of congress, i would remind my colleagues that in total, this amount is less than 1% of the funding in this bill. moreover, all of the so-called earmarks in the defense portion of this bill were either in either the house or the senate bill mr. president, there are no airdrop earmarks in the defense spending included in this measure. in addition to the defense portion of this bill, the house has added a little more than one dozen provisions to provide a two-month safety net to unemployed and nearly impoverished americans and to extend critical provisions which are set to expire this month.
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for individual americans provisions were included to extend through february 28, 2010 expiring unemployment insurance benefits that were established in the american recovery and reinvestment act. likewise provisions were included to extend the 65% cobra health insurance subsidy from 9 to 15 months for individuals who have lost their jobs and to extend the job loss eligibility date also through february 28, 2010. further, a provision was included to freeze the department of health and human services poverty guidelines at 2009 levels in order to prevent a reduction in eligibility for programs like medicaid, food stamps and school lunch programs through march 1 of next year. this provision keeps struggling
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families from falling through the cracks. in addition, provisions were included to provide $125 million to extend the recovery act program for small businesses. the program reduces lending fees to borrowers under the small business administration guaranteed loan programs and increases the fellow guarantee on certain small business loans. the recovery act supported a resurgence in s.b.a. small business lending but funds were exhausted in november. the additional funding in this bill will help support lending to small business during the economic recovery by continuing fee relief for borrowers and encouraging lenders to extend credit to small businesses. further, this bill includes a short-term extension of the
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highway transit highway safety and truck safety programs. mr. president, without this extension, the highway program would be brought to a standstill and the department of transportation would be untaoeubl reimburse states for eligible expenses. in addition, several agencies, including the federal highway administration and the national highway traffic safety administration and the federal motor carrier safety administration would not have the funds necessary to pay their employees. mr. president, this is not your typical end of the year christmas tree. to the temporary, it is the bare minimum of programs which must be continued to provide for our less fortunate and our struggling small businesses. it also allows for a two-month
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extension of law such as the patriot act in order to allow more time for our authorizing committees to come to agreement on more permanent legislation. the house has passed the compromise measure and forwarded to the senate because of the calendar. mr. president, today is december 16 and our department of defense has been operating on a continuing resolution for more than two months. mr. president, it's time we tkpwept on with the process -- we get on with the process and get this bill to the president. it is a good measure. our troops deserve our support. show that we support those who volunteer to serve all of us by voting today to send this bill to the president. and, mr. president as i close i would like to thank the
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defense subcommittee staff for their dedication and hard work in putting this bill together. i wish to put into the record the names of these staff members who have worked on this bill in a bipartisan fashion to be able to present it to the senate at this time. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. inouye: at this time as follows: charlie hoye, nicole duresta, kate fitzpatrick katie hagan, kate coffer, ellen maldonado, rachel myers eric raven, gary reece reden snowden, robbery stkepb ski stewart holmes, brian clark brian wilson and tom austinhoff.
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mr. president, it is my pleasure and privilege to be chairman of the committee. it is a great honor and i wish to make s-rpb -- make certain that we express our gratitude to all these staff people. without them, i would not be standing here at this moment. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: mr. president thank you very much. i'm glad i was here to hear the remarks of the distinguished senator from hawaii. i serve on that subcommittee of defense appropriations with him and get to observe at close range the skill and effort and courtesy that is reflected in his service as chairman of our committee. it's a pleasure to serve with him and an honor to serve with him. he's provided leadership and
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cooperation, working with all senators -- not just members of our committee -- to move forward the carrying out of duties by the department of defense through our appropriations process. it's very important that the senate approve as soon as possible the funding that is contained in the bill that our committee has reported to the senate. it will help support and provide the resources necessary to carry out the missions that our men and women have in afghanistan in iraq, and around the world. safeguarding our freedoms, protecting our security interests. the department of defense is now operating under a continuing resolution that expires on friday. this is an inefficient way of managing the support for our department of defense. it causes too much effort to be
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made by employees and men and women in the defense department, focusing on management -- how to manage day-to-day operating expenses dealing with the challenges that too few dollars are provided in a way that gives people time to plan and then execute efficiently their missions and responsibilities. and this affects the support that is available to men and women who are overseas and in harm's way. the act contains funds necessary to provide medical care as well as family support for members of our armed forces and their families. and during this time of war, it is very important that he havery effort be made -- that every effort be made to provide good medical care for those who are injured and wounded serving our country. it is also important that we support the families, and there are funds in this legislation
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that do just that. trying to address the stresses that are associated with combat and deployments and separation. mr. president, i'm disappointed that the normal process has been circumvented or at least delayed. the other body has not appointed conferees to the defense appropriations conference committee. it's a disappointment also that the defense appropriations bill is used as a vehicle to move initiatives which seems to be slowing down the process. these measures should be considered separately and addressed in a more thoughtful way based on their own merits, not on the legislation they're tied to to carry them through the legislative process. i think attaching non-defense-related legislation to the defense appropriations act for this fiscal year has been a mistake. it's been unnecessary
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unfortunate. it's resulted in delay and uncertainty. mr. president, i'm sure there are senators who can make suggestions for improving this bill. we're open to hear those concerns and do our best to respond to the suggestions from all senators. we don't individually support all aspects of the agreement but we think that in total, it is a good bill and it ought to be passed and it ought to be passed as soon as possible in recognition of our respect for our service members and their families. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: mr. president i rise to make some observations about a matter that occurred here in the senate earlier this afternoon.
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mr. president, the plain language -- the plain language of the senate precedent the manual that governs senate procedure, is that unanimous consent of all members was required before the senator from vermont could withdraw his amendment while it was being read. unanimous consent. earlier today the majority somehow convinced the parliamentarian to break with the long-standing precedent and practice of the senate in the reading of the bill. senate procedure clearly states -- and i quote -- "under rule 15 paragraph 1 and senate precedents, an amendment shall be read by the clerk before it is up for consideration or
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before the same shall be debated unless a request to waive the reading is granted." it goes on to state that -- quote -- "the reading of which may not be dispensed with except by unanimous consent. and if the request is denied, the amendment must be read and further interruptions are not in order." nothing could be more clear. you may have heard that the majority cites an example in 1992 when the chair made a mistake and allowed something similar to happen. but one mistake does not a precedent make. for example there is precedent for a senator being beaten with a cane here in the senate.
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if mistakes were the rule, then the caning of senators would be in order. fortunately for all of us, it is not. it is now perfectly clear that the majority is willing to do anything -- anything to jam through a 2,000-page bill before the american people, or any of us have had a chance to read it. including changing the rules in the middle of the game. mr. president i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia is recognized. mr. chambliss: mr. president i rise today to speak about the decision to move the remaining detainees held at guantanamo bay naval facility or gitmo to the thompson correctional center in
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illinois. the decision to transfer gitmo detainees who the heartland is irresponsible, a waste of taxpayers' dollars an contrary to the wishes of the american people. congress has included language permitting transfer of gitmo detainees to the united states only under certain limited conditions in every relevant appropriations bill passed this year including the recently passed omnibus appropriation act. that's one of the reasons i voted against every single one of those bills. the president now has made the decision to purchase the thompson correctional center from state of illinois for the purpose of transferring and detaining gitmo detainees. further the president stated that he will need to expend millions of dlicial dollars renovating and securing the security when much has been invested in the state of the art facility at guantanamo bay.
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this unnecessary spending is an abuse of our tax dollars and one that holds dire national security consequences. the administration claims that many of these detainees will continue to be held by the military in the same prison where the department of justice will hold average ordinary criminals. what the administration fails to tell the american people is that these detainees will obtain the same rights as u.s. citizens the moment they step inside the united states. we have already seen detainees attempt to gain these same rights as americans in our courts. and have seen the courts grant them limited rights. without them being inside the united states. in habeas corpus cases where the court has ruled 30 out of 38 gitmo detainees have been found to be unlawfully detained and their release has been ordered. after reviewing the classified
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biographies on some of these individuals, it is clear from these decisions that the courts not in a position to judge matters of war and cannot, when they are bound by our criminal justice system. it's not designed to handle war criminals. the courts do not adequately consider the threat these individuals pose to u.s. interests or will pose in the future when they return to terrorism. president obama cites the authorization for the use of military force as legal justification for continuing the detention of these terrorists. however, the courts have already indicated that these detainees cannot be indefinitely held. i wonder if the administration considered this when it decided to move gitmo detainees to the united states. this administration may face the same problem as the last administration did in justifying to a u.s. court the continuing detention of these terrorists.
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only this time the court will have a remedy. it is foreseeable that some, and possibly many, of those detainees will be ordered released by our courts. the administration has tried to assure the public that our immigration laws will prohibit the release of those individuals into the united states. but, once again this administration fails to appreciate the limits of our legal system. once these detainees are physically present in the united states prior judicial precedent indicates, that the government can only detain an individual while immigration removal proceedings are ongoing for a maximum of six months. if a detainee cannot be transferred or deported, they will be released, freed into the united states after just six months. this is much more than just moving guantanamo north. on the other hand, if the
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administration is able to secure the transfer of these detainees to another country we can be sure and watch the recidivism rates rise. the department of defense's last unclassified fact sheet on recidivism reported that 14% of the former gitmo detainees returned to terrorism after their release or their transfer. this is almost one out of every seven detainees transferred. this number is much larger now after eight months and countless transfers of the most serious terrorists. some of the detainees transferred openly admit their affiliation with the terrorist organization or that they were combating u.s. forces in afganistan. confirming this, two former gitmo detainees transferred to saudi arabia announced earlier this year that they were now the leaders of al qaeda in the
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arabian peninsula. another detainee, ali bin ali allah, was identified on a list of names in khalid sheikh mohammed possession when k.s.m. was captured. ali bin allah was determined not to be a captive. he was transferred to yemen in september. maybe some of my colleagues have seen the recent headlines indicating that some european countries are are willing to accept these detainees. in fact, detainees have recently been transferred to belgium ireland, hungary and italy. however, the american people are not fooled by these headlines. of the 779 detainees held since 2001 at guantanamo bay our european partners have accepted
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only 37. the vast majority of detainees almost 400 have been transferred to four countries: afganistan, saudi arabia, pakistan, and yemen. these four countries are either currently in conflict or actively combating al qaeda. in all four of these countries the threat from al qaeda and associate militants has done nothing but increase over the pass few years. yet, the united states is sending back hundreds of terrorists to the most volatile regions of the world. south asia, which poses the greatest terrorist threat currently to the homeland and to the arabian peninsula, which i believe will present itself as the next greatest threat to the united states. the decision to move these terrorists to the u.s. may force the administration to choose between freeing terrorists into illinois or transferring back -- them back to the center of the
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battle. is this the policy position we want to put our country in while we are still combating terrorism? no one doubts the security of our prisons to safely hold these individuals. i doubt the ability of our laws and judicial system to ensure that these terrorists are convicted or to be kept in prison. prohibiting the detainees from entering into the united states is the only guarantee. however, the decision to move the remaining terrorists at gitmo to heart of this country shattered any remaining hope for this guarantee. this is, yet another step in a series of poor policy decisions which is leading our country in the wrong direction. i'm disappointed by this sition, obviously. -- this decision, obviously. i can only imagine how the residents of illinois feel about it. i know georgiaians would not be pleased with housing over 200 of
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the most serious terrorists in the world in their back yard. mr. president i would yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois is recognized. mr. durbin: i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i would like to respond to my friend from georgia who stepped off the floor. i would like to state a few things about the detainees in guantanamo bay. he misstated a few things. he stated that these detainees would be freed in illinois. not so the plan of this administration is not to free them. the plan is to imprison them in
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the most secure prison in the united states of america. it's in thompson, illinois, 150 miles from chicago. i was there a few weeks ago. it is a super max prison built seven years ago and never fully occupied. and now they're going to build an additional fence around it -- it will be more secure than any prison america. to suggest they will be freed they will be freed into the most secure prison in america and they're not coming out. -- out until such time as a resolution of whatever their issues may be or they pass away. and i might also say that the current law in the united states prohibits the president of the united states from releasing these detainees in the united states. so those statements by the senator from georgia are just flat incorrect. now, he is entitled to his position and to others who share it that we shouldn't close guantanamo. i believe we should. on my side of this argument
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would be the following people who have called for the closure of guantanamo: president george w. bush, secretary of state and former chairman of the joint joint chiefs of staff, colin powell; secretary of defense under president bush and under president obama robert gates; former secretary of state and domestic policy adviser con lisa rice, 33 other generals in addition to barack obama. that closing guantanamo -- that people entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the united states closing guantanamo. yesterday press secretary gibbs was asked about this decision to transfer and he said on more than 30 occasions i'm not sure in the time frame whether it was
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this year or a longer period of time but on more than 30 occasions they have found direct linkage of terrorist recruitment activity in the use of guantanamo as an illustration of why people needed to convert to terrorism around the world. it is still being actively used for recruitment. and if the senator from georgia would go back a few weeks and read "newsweek" one of their reporters was captured in te what ran -- teharan. he told a story of how he was first incarcerated, an as he arrived, his jailer said, welcome to abu ghraib. for us to believe that there is not a negative image in guantanamo and not used against our troops is to ignore the obvious there are some in this body who are hide bound to keep
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guantanamo open at any cost and i will tell you the cost is too high. if the continuation of guantanamo means danger to our troops we owe it to them to close it. presidents have reached that conclusion. people in charge of national security have reached that conclusion and we should as well. and then there's this notion about the danger of incarcerating terrorists in the united states. for the record, over 350 convicted terrorists are currently imprisoned in the united states. all over the united states, in my home state of illinois, 35 convicted terrorists are in prison today. the most recent incar ration involves a man arrested shortly after 9/11 in peoria, illinois. an unlikely hotbed of terrorism and spy activity, but in fact, this man going to school in peoria illinois, through his
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communications was linked with al qaeda. he served time in a navy brig, in south carolina, if i'm not mistaken eventually he was tried in the courts of peoria, illinois convicted and now incarcerated in marion, illinois in southern illinois. i heard not one word of criticism when this took place under the previous administration. the belief was this man had to answer for the crimes he was charged with and served time in our prison system as a result of it. never, not once, not one time did i ever hear any congressman of either political party say boy, it's unsafe to try him in peoria or it's unsafe to incarcerate him in southern illinois. it's never been said. what happens to these people when they go into our super max prisons where no one has ever escaped? they disappear as they should. they're where they ought to be. isolated in a way from causing harm to anyone. when president obama was looking
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for an alternative to guantanamo we came forward. one of the mayors of a small town in illinois, thompson illinois, just a couple hundred people living there, wrote to the governor of illinois and to me said i've got a big prison that the state built, never opened. built in 2001, it has a capacity of several thousand prisoners and the state could never afford to open it. and we had hoped that this prison would create a lot of local jobs for us. can you find a use for it at the federal level? and the obama administration took a hard look at this for a long long period of time. part of it was done confidentially and then they came out publicly and said we are seriously interested. the senator from georgia said earlier, well, the people of illinois are against this. well, i'd say to my friend from georgia, come on down to thompson illinois, come on down and meet the people who are overwhelmingly supportive. and not just democrats believe
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me. local state representative jim sasha is a republican, former f.b.i. agent. he said we would be idiots not to take this offer from the federal government. he's right. 3,000 jobs? i don't know that there's a senator here if you said to him "would you be interested in 3,000 jobs in the midst of a recession?" who wouldn't stand up and say "let's talk." well, we did. 3,000 new jobs at this prison when it's opened as part of the bureau of prisons and part of the department of defense. and how many guantanamo detainees will be sent there? fewer than 100. we have 35 in our prisons already. life has not changed in my home state of illinois nor has it changed in any other state where they're being incarcerated, and it won't change in thompson, illinois. these people can be held safely securely. i trust our men and women in the military to do that. and the members of the senate should do it as well. these 3,000 jobs are going to be a godsend to an area with 11% unemployment. first, a lot of construction
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jobs and we can use those. those are good-paying jobs for americans right here at home. and then those who work for the bureau of prisons are going to be paid a good salary and good benefits the kind of salary that you can use to build a family or community or a neighborhood. these will be people who will be buying homes -- 3,000 of them buying homes -- cars, shopping for appliances, going to the lot shopping malls. is that going to be good for the economy? you bet it is. it's just what we need. and it's just what this area of the state wants. and this argument that we somehow will oppose it is just wrong. now, the local congressman who is a friend of mine, opposes it, the republican congressman. we've talked about it. we just don't see eye to eye on it. but even in the largest city in his district, rockford, illinois, which is at least northeast of thompson, the largest city the city council in rockford passed a resolution of approval of this thompson prison 12-2.
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in county after county, state and local governments -- i should say local county governments are coming out in favor of this thompson prison. those who come to the floor and argue otherwise don't know the facts and when they know the facts, they will realize we're prepared to do this. and now the question is whether the senate will stand behind the president, stand behind our security advisors who believe this is in the best interests of the united states. i think it is. it isn't the first time that illinois's been called on to do something extraordinary for our country. the first supermax prison in our federal system was built in marion illinois, years and years ago. there was controversy. this was the most secure prison in america but i'll tell you what, the people of southern illinois rallied behind it. it's been a prison with a lot of great professionals who have worked there and have done their job and done them well. and when i go down to marion, illinois, and talk to them about guantanamo detainees they say "senator listen send them here we'll take care of them. we can point among those who are
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incarcerated at marion prison to those who are engaged in al qaeda terrorism colombian drug gangs mexican drug cartels cartels, some of the meanest toughest most violent gang bangers from the cities around the midwest, they're in that prison and they are held safely every day. i will tell you, when i hear people say they don't trust our prison system to hold a handful or 50 or whatever the number may be less than a hundred of these guantanamo detainees, they ought to meet the men and women who do it every single day in america and do it well. and they ought to realize that these detainees will be held by our military, the department of defense employees. those are the ones we can trust to do it. so i'd urge my friends -- others have spoken earlier. seniority mcconnell came to the floor earlier and it's become -- senator mcconnell came to the floor earlier and it's become unfortunately a party position now that it's a bad idea. earlier, senator mccain and senator graham on the republican side of the aisle didn't argue
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against the transfer of these detainees. they understand that these prisoners aren't larger than life. they've been in prison for eight years. and, frankly, i don't know how much longer they'll stay there but as long as they're a threat to the united states, they will. madam president, i would like to at this point address an issue that came up earlier on the floor and ask that it be put at a separate place in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, something unusual happened on the floor of the senate today. it happens but rarely. under the rules of the senate amendments and bills can be read if a member requests, and we usually ask that -- have unanimous consent to dispense with the reading. and routinely that's done every day on scores of different things. today senator sanders of vermont offered an amendment near and dear to his heart about single-payer health care reform
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and it turned out to be a voluminous amendment 800 pages long and when the time came to ask for consent that it not be read, there was an objection from senator coburn of oklahoma and he insisted that it be read. and our poor clerical staff up here, the clerks of the senate, started reading this bill and they read on for almost two hours or more. and as they were reading it, it came to our attention that senator sanders of vermont had authority under the senate rules to withdraw his amendment and stop the reading of the amendment. now, i wasn't aware of that because i can't recall that that's ever happened since i've been here. but i made a point since many years ago i was parliamentarian of the illinois state senate and tried to at least read the rules from time to time, to turn to rule 15 section 2, in the senate standing rules of the senate. here's what it says, "any motion amendment or resolution may be withdrawn or modified by the mover at any time before a
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decision amendment, or ordering of the yeas and nays except a motion to reconsider, which shall not be withdrawn without leave." in other words until action was taken on the sanders amendment he had the authority under rule 15 paragraph 2 to withdraw his amendment, which he did. some have come to the floor and protested and that said this was extraordinary and -- and can't be backed up by the senate rules. but i refer them to this rule, which is explicit. no action had taken place on this amendment other than the introduction of the amendment and the reading. and as it says here, "any time before a decision, amendment or ordering of the yeas and nays." and that i think is a clear case. i've since read an earlier ruling by the chair relative to the same rule that goes back several decades so the ruling of the chair today or at least the finding of the chair was consistent with the rules of the senate. but the strategy that came out in the ordering of this amendment to be read is pretty
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clear when it comes to health care. the republican strategy is clear to anyone who was watching the debate. they don't want amendments. they just don't want us to vote on health care reform. there comes a time when people make the best arguments they can and the senate makes a decision. and that's what we are facing. that's what we want. we would like to do that in a timely fashion. members here believe that we can do that in a responsible way and move this health care reform bill to a point of a vote cloture vote, a 60-vote requirement, and do that in a way that we can find the sentiment in the senate on this important measure. and just maybe go home for christmas, which a lot of us would like to do. we've been away from our families for quite awhile. during the course of this debate, we have been spending a lot of time on the bill itself. i usually wave it here to give people an idea, but it's a 2,074-page bill and it took a
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lot of work to get to this point. the amendment will be -- the managers' amendment to this will be several hundred pages i imagine, and people say, why is it so big? well it's big because we're changing the health care system in america. it represents one-sixth of our economy. and you can imagine all of the different moving parts in this complicated health care system that we address with this bill. during this period of time the republicans have not offered any alternative or substitute. i thought that would be their first motion, to come forward and say well, that is the democratic plan to change the health care system in america but you ought to see the republican plan, how much better it is. they didn't do that because there is no republican alternative. theefersthere's no republican substitute. last week when i went to the republican web site -- senate reb web site, and i invite people to do the same, i found there was only one bill printed there on this health care reform. it was the democratic bill. want any bill that's been offered by the republican side. -- not any bill that's been offered by the republican side. the reason is this is hard work. putting a bill together, getting
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the experts to look at it to decide whether it's going to save money or cost money. it takes time to do it and do it right. and they have not. so they're either not up to the challenge of preparing an alternative bill or they're content with the current system. and i guess some people are content with the current system. among those who are con tunt with it are the c.e. -- content with it are the c.e.o.'s of health care systems. they like this system. they make a lot of money. they do it at the expense of a lot of people who need health care and end up being turned down. so, you feel, the republicans have had no constructive proposals to improve our bill. each and every amendment almost without exception has been send the bill back to committee, stop working on it, deletes this another day -- let's do this another day. and all they want to do on this bill is to delay us, as they tried to do today with the reading of the sanders amendment. senator judd gregg of new hampshire is a friend of mine and he and his wife kathy and my wife loretta and i have traveled together on official business of the senate. i like him.
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he's a smart guy. he's going to retire. and he in his wisdom decided to give a playbook to the republican side of the aisle which they shared and go through page after page of ways to slow down and stop the united states senate from acting. senator gregg was -- it's entirely within his rights as a senator to do it. what i read in his memo was accurate. but the intent and motive are clear. he wanted to stop this bill from moving forward and that became the real cause on the republican side of the aisle. they took a page out of senator gregg's playbook today with senator coburn's demanding that the amendment be read but it didn't work. i'd like to ask unanimous consent now to add a statement at this point in the record of a -- of a colloquy between former senators adams and packwood on the floor of the united states senate on september 24, 1992.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: that, incidentally, madam president, is the colloquy i referred to earlier where the chair made exactly the same ruling on that day as was made today, finding in terms of rule 15 paragraph 2. i also would like consent to add to the record at this point the memorandum prepared by senator gregg for the republican side of the aisle concerning the rights of the minority in the senate and which i mentioned earlier largely include the rights to slow down and stop the activity of the senate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you madam president. madam president, i would just say when senator mcconnell came to the floor after the ruling of the chair and the decision of the chair, he said that the plain language of the senate precedent the manual that governs senate procedure is that unanimous consent of all
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members was required before the senator from vermont could with withdraw his ality while it was being -- amendment while it was being read. he said it required unanimous consent, but that is not what the language of the senate rules that i've read say. they say that a senator has as a matter of right under rule 15, paragraph 2, the right to withdraw his amendment before action is taken. in this case that i mentioned earlier, argument in 1992, back up the parliamentarian's decision and that interpretation of the rule. so i would say that it didn't work today to stop or slow down the senate. currently we are not technically debating health care reform. before us now is the department of defense appropriation bill. the conference report from the the -- from the house which i hope that we could move on quickly. i think it's noncontroversial. it's a matter of finding money for our troops who are risking their lives overseas and
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supporting their families at home and providing health care for members of the military and their families. i don't think there's much debate about that. it also extends the unemployment benefits that people need across america which passed with a 97-0 if i'm not mistaken, not that long ago the last time it was considered here. so these are matters which should move along and do it in a fairly straightforward way. i would hope we can show some bipartisanship when it comes to our men and women in uniform and appraouft department of defense appropriations bill which does not contain anything controversial beyond what i just described. we can then get back to the health care reform bill. i think it's important that at some point soon we bring this to a vote to find if we indeed have 60 votes for health care reform. i sincerely hope we do. i'll close by saying that this health care reform bill has many critics but it also has several features which can't be denied. the first of those features that have been verified by the
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congressional budget office, this bill does not add to the deficit of the united states. it reduces the deficit by $130 billion over ten years and $650 billion more over the following ten years. we have also received reports from the congressional budget office that the result of this bill will be a decline in the increase in the cost of health insurance premiums, something that we desperately need. it is a bill that will also extend health insurance coverage to 30 million more americans who don't have it today 50 million uninsured americans 50 million of them, 60% of them will have the assurance of health insurance coverage. 90% of americans will have health insurance coverage, the highest percentage in the history of the united states of america as a result of this bill. and finally this bill addresses directly the issue of whether or not health insurance companies can continue to deny coverage when people need it the most. we know stories from our own life experience and our families and people who write our offices that people in the most need of
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health insurance protection are often turned down by the companies. they po*er through the applications -- pore through the applications and say you failed to disclose a preexisting condition. they say your amount of coverage has lapsed, your child is too old to be covered by your family plan. the list goes on and on. finally some of the most egregious abuses by health insurance companies are addressed in this bill and consumers across america are given the legal power to fight back and the legal power to be protected. that's why this bill is important and why it's worth passing. and all the criticism not withstanding, i might also say it is a bill that is critically important for the future of medicare. if we do nothing medicare is going broke in seven or eight years. but this bill, we are told, will extend the life of medicare up to ten more years. that's good news, to put medicare on sound financial footing. so our seniors like that. the president -- i should say the majority leader of the united states senate came to the
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floor two days ago to announce something else that will be part of the conference committee here the so-called doughnut hole that gap in coverage for prescription drugs under medicare is going to be filled so that seniors will no longer have that period of uncertainty where their bills have reached a level where they're disqualified from payment the so-called doughnut hole. it will be filled. it will give them peace of mind that if they have expensive pharmaceuticals, they will have no interruption in coverage when it comes to those pharmaceuticals in the future. for seniors these are two major things to put medicare on sound financial footing and to fill the doughnut hole under the medicare prescription part program. it also is going to give seniors for the first time access to the kind of preventive care, regular checkups that they need for peace of mind and so that doctors and prolgtss -- professionals can catch problems before they get worse. this bill is a positive bill and a positive step forward. yesterday we had a chance at the
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senate democratic caucus to meet with president obama. we went to the white house to the executive office building, and the president talked to us about what this bill means. and he reminded us that seven presidents have tried to do this and failed. he told us when he started this trek that he wanted to be the last president to deal with health care reform because he wanted to get it done. i feel the same way. i think the american people feel the same way. i'm sure there's confusion. there's been a lot of misstatements made about death pants and things that really have no basis and fact. but people should be confident that when the aarp, the american association of retired persons stands up and says this is a good bill for the seniors in america under medicare and social security and for their families when medical professionals, doctors and medical professionals stand up and say this is a good bill, that we have the kind of support that we need to say to the american people this is an important step forward in health care protection in america. it is time for us to make history and pass this bill. let's do it and do it in time for members to enjoy christmas
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with their families. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: and i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of senate resolution 376 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 376 honoring the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate proceeds to the measure. mr. durbin: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to be added as a cosponsor to this resolution. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous
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consent the resolution be agreed to the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the resolution be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. thursday, december 17. that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date the morning hour deemed expired the time for the two leaders be reserved for use later in the day and the senate resume consideration of the house message with respect to department of defense appropriations bill with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each provided further that the first hour be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the second half. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
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been enacted. sec. 1702. repeal of certain provisions in the employee retirement income security act of 1974. ufrz. mr. sanders: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i withdraw my i withdraw my amendment.
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>> regular order. >> mr. president. >> the senator has that right the amendment is with john. >> mr. president, the pursuant to the previous order under the previous order the senator from vermont is recognized to for 30 minutes. >> thank you. mr. president let me begin and not by talking about my amendment but by talking about republican action right here at the floor of the senate. everybody in this country understands that our nation faces a significant number of major crises whether it is the disintegration of our health care system, the fact that 17 percent of our people are unemployed or underemployed one out for our children are living in food stamps, we've got to wars, global warming we have a $12 trillion national debt to and the best the republicans can do is try to bring the united
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states government to a halt to. by forcing a reading of a 700 page amendment. that is an outrage people can have honest disagreement but in this moment of crisis it is wrong to bring the united states government to a halt. now, mr. president i'm very disturbed that i'm on able to bring the amendment that i wanted to bring to the floor of the senate dealing with medicare for all of single payer program. i want to thank senator reid for allowing me to try to bring this amendment to the floor before it was obstructed to and elated and prevented by the republican leadership. but i did want to mention that this legislation it is co-sponsored by roland burris and i was more than aware and very proud that this amendment would have been the first time
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in american history that a medicare for all senior payor bill was brought before a floor of congress. i was more than aware that that amendment would not win. i knew that, but i am absolutely committed that this legislation or legislation like it will eventually be, the law of the land. and the reason for my optimism that the medicare for all single payer bill will eventually prevail is it that that will be and is the only mechanism we have a to provide comprehensive high quality health care to all of our people in a cost-effective way. because it is the only approach which eliminates the hundreds of
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billions of dollars in a administrative costs bureaucracy and profiteering. that is engendered by the private insurance companies and that is the simple truth. we are not going to provide comprehensive, universal cost-effective health care to all of our people without eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars in bureaucratic waste and profiteering. that currently takes place and is engendered by the private insurance company. the day will come although i recognize it is not today when in the united states congress will have the courage to stand up to the private insurance companies ended the drug companies in the medical equipment suppliers and all of those who profit and make billions of dollars every single year of of human sickness and on that day when it comes and it
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will come the united states congress will finally proclaimed that healthcare is a right of all people and not just a privileged. and that day will come as surely as i stand here today. madam president, there are those who think that medicare all is some kind of a fringe idea, just a few you know, a left-wing will set their think this is the way to go. but let me assure you that this is absolutely not the case. the single payer concept has widespread support all across this country. in a 2007 ap via yahoo! poll 65 percent of respondents said and i quote that the united states should adopt a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like medicare that is run by the government and
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financed by taxpayers. madam president there is also widespread support to for medicare for all among those people who on the in understanding of the issue the most, that is the medical community. and that support goes well beyond the 17,000 doctors and physicians for a national health care program who are fighting every day for a single payer system. it goes beyond the california nurses association the largest nurses' union in the country. who are also fighting for a single payer system. madam president, in march of 2008 a survey of 2,000 american doctors published in the annals of internal medicine concluded that 59 percent of physicians quote supported legislation to establish national health insurance, end of quote.
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and madam president and to be particularly interested to know that the new hampshire medical society survey of new hampshire physicians and found and i quote two-thirds of new hampshire's physicians including 81 percent the primary care clinicians indicated that they would favor a simplified it pays your system in which public funds collected through taxes were used to pay directly for services to meet the basic health care needs of all citizens. that is new hampshire. in 2007 and minnesota medicine magazine survey of minnesota's physicians and found that quotes 64 percent favored a single payer system. 86 percent of positions also agree that it is the responsibility of society through the government to ensure that everyone has access to good medical care. but it is not just doctors. it is not just nurses. it is not just millions of
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ordinary americans. what we are seeing now is the national state and local organizations representing a wide variety of regions and interest support single payer. these include the u.s. conference of mayors, u.s. conference of mayors, the american medical students association, the afl-cio the national association for the advancement of colored people, the national association of letter carriers, the national education association the united church of christ, the uaw, international association of machinery united steelworkers, and the older american league. ..resident unanimous consent that i can submit a list to the desk of all of the organization representing millions and millions of americans who are sick and tired of the current system and want to move to a medicare for all single payer system.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: thank you. madam president there is something significant support in the house of representatives for a single-payer system. together h.r. 6676 and h.r. 1200 two different single payer programs have 94 cosponsors. let me say a word about state legislators who have moved to let me say a word about state legislatures that have progressively taught a finger payer system. in california, our largest state, the state legislature dared on two occasions passed a single-payer program largest state in america passed a finger payer program and on both occasions it was vetoed by the government. in new york state the state assembly passed a single-payer system among other states will finger payer has been proposed and seriously ohio,
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massachusetts, colorado, maine vermont, illinois, oregon, washington, new mexico, minnesota, indiana, and new hampshire. madam president, why is it that we need an entirely new approach for health care in this country quite why is it? and the answer i think is pretty obvious. our current system dominated by profit-making insurance companies simply does not work. yes, we have two confess it does work with the insurance companies who make huge profits and provide their ceos with extravagant compensation packages. yes it does work and we saw how well it works yesterday right here on the floor with the pharmaceutical industry on the which year after year lease on most every other industry in profits while charging the american people by far not even
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close, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. so it works with the insurance companies. it works with the drug companies. works with the medical equipment suppliers. and many other people were making billions of dollars off of our health care system. that's madam president it is not working. in fact, it is failing for ordinary americans. today 46 million people in our country have no health insurance and even more are underinsured with high deduct the bulls or copayments. today is our primary health care system collapses tens of millions of americans do not have access to a doctor on a regular basis. and tragically, madam president some 45,000 of our fellow americans who do not have access to a doctor on a regular basis die every single year.
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that is 15 times more americans die of preventable diseases than were murdered in the horrific 9/11 attack against our country. and that takes place every year. 45,000 people. this is not acceptable. this is a manifestation of a collapsing system that needs fundamental change. madam president, a number of months ago i took to the floor to relate stories that i heard from people throughout the state of vermont regarding the health care crisis. stories which i published into a small booklet and placed on my website. and let me just tell you one story. a man from swanton vermont in the northern part of our state wrote to tell me about his younger brother, a vietnam vet or in who died three weeks after being diagnosed with colon cancer. at the time he was diagnosed he
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had been laid off from his job and could not afford cobra coverage. in quotes, this is what his brother said, when he was in enough pain to see a doctor, when he was in enough pain to see a doc or it was too late. he left a wife and two teenage sons and the prime of his life at 50 years old. the attending physician said that if he had only sought treatment earlier he would still be alive end of quote from his brother. a modern president, or rhythmically, tragically, that same story is being told in every state in this country over and over again if only he had gone to the dock or in time, he could have lived but didn't have any health insurance. that should not be taking place in the united states of america in the year 2009. and the problem extends beyond even the thousand who die every
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single year needlessly. many, many others suffer needless disability strokes that leave them paralyzed because they couldn't afford treatment for the high blood pressure or amputations blindness, or kidney failure from undertreated diabetes. infants are born still because their mothers couldn't get the kind of nail care that any mother should have. and millions with mental illness go untreated today. in a town in northern vermont, not far from where i live, a physician told me that one third of the patients that she treats are unable to pay for the prescription drugs that she prescribes. think about the insanity of that. we asked doctors to diagnose our illness, to help us out she writes a prescription drug, one third of her patients cannot afford to fill that prescription. that is insane.
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that is a crumbling health care system. and the reason people can't afford to fill their prescription drugs is our people, because the pharmaceutical industry, are forced to pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. this is indefensible. there's nobody who can come to the floor of the senate and tell me that that makes one shot of sense. madam president the disintegration of our health care system causes not only unnecessary human pain, suffering, and that, but it is also an economic disaster, an economic disaster. talk to small businesses in vermont, new hampshire any place in this country and they tell you that they cannot afford to invest in their company's and create new jobs because all of their profits are going to soaring health care costs 10 cents, 20% a year.
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talk to the recently bankrupt general owners and they will play they spend more money per automobile on health care than they do in steel and the international competition that they are engaged in. they are forced to pay $1500 per car on health care while mercedes in germany spends $419 toyota in japan spends $97. try to compete against that. further, from an individual economic perspective it is literally beyond comprehension that of the nearly 1 million people who will file for bankruptcy this year, the vast majority of those people are filing for bankruptcy because of medically related illnesses. further, from an emotional point of view, let's just take a deep breath and think about millions
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of people who are today's struggling with cancer, struggling with heart disease struggling with diabetes or other chronic illnesses. and you know what waxed they are not even able to focus on their disease, trying to get while they are so many half of their energy to fight with the insurance companies to make sure they get the coverage that they need. that is not civilized, that is not worthy of the united states of america. madame president in my state of vermont and i suspect it is quite similar in new hampshire and every state in this country we have all walked in to small mom and pop stores and we have seen those little donation jars that says how about this theme only because the breadwinner in that family is struggling with cancer and does not have any health insurance. while little sally need some kind of operation and she doesn't have any health insurance. but in a buck or five bucks to help that family get the health care that they need.
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this is in the united states of america. this should not and cannot be allowed to continue. madame president one of the unfortunate things that has occurred during the entire health care debate that we are in right now is that we have largely ignored what is happening in terms of health care around the rest of the world. i have heard some of my republican colleagues get up and say we have the best health care system in the world. now we do if you're a millionaire or a billionaire but not if you're in the middle class. not if you're a working-class person certainly not if you're low income. it's just not true. today the united states despite 46 million being uninsured and more being uninsured spend almost twice as much per person on health care as any any other country. and despite that, our health care outcomes are in many respects not all but in many
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respects worse than other countries in terms of life expectancy. other countries have longer life expectancy than we do. they are better in an immortality and they do a lot better job in terms of preventable deaths. it seems that the very beginning of this debate we should have asked a very, very simple question. and that is why is it that we are spending almost twice as much per person on health care as any other country with outcomes that in many respects are not as good. madame president, according to an oecd report in 2007, the united states, and this is what this chart is about the united states spent about $7290 of the $7000 per person on health care canada is spent 2896, $95.
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almost half of what we stand. france spent $3601 less than half of we spent. the united kingdom spent less than $3000 italy spent on a $600 compared to the more than $7000 we spend. now don't you think that maybe the first question that we might've asked is, why is it that we spend so much and yet our health care outcomes in many respects are worse than other countries? now why is it that that happens? limit value at other people are not going to tell you. and that is one of the key issues that needed to be debated in this health care discussion, which has not been discussed. and the reason and the simple reason as to why we spend so much more than any other country, with outcomes that are not as good as many other
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countries is that this legislation from the very beginning started with the assumption that we need to maintain the privacy of private for-profit health insurance companies. and that reality, that basic reality that we cannot touch private insurance companies and the fact that we have to dump millions more people into private health insurance companies, that was an issue that could not be been discussed. sadly, despite all the money that we spend we get poor value for our investment. according to the world health organization, the united states ranks 37. compared with five other countries australia, canada, new zealand, united kingdom u.s. health care system ranks last or next to last on the measures of quality access efficiency equity. take all of the world and they pull people in a country and they have you feel on your own health care system? and we end up way way down
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below behind other countries. recently while the canadian health health care system was being attacked every single day they did a poll in canada. they said to the canadian people, you know, what do you think about your health care system? people in america say you've got a terrible system. do you want to type your system and adopt the american system? by overwhelming numbers, overwhelming numbers, the people of canada said thank you no thank you we know the american system and we will stay with our system. i was in the united kingdom and the solitary in the dna match with a number of people the conservative party, not the labour party not to democratic party the conservative party. the party which likely will become the government of their country. and the conservatives were outraged by the kind of attacks being leveled against the
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national health system in their country, the lies we're being told about their system. and in fact, the leader of the conservative party got up to defend the national health system in the united kingdom. and then we come to power we will defend the united national health care system. that was the conservatives. madame president what is the problem with our system, which makes it rather a different then the system in any other industrial country? and it is that we have allowed for-profit private corporation to develop and run our health care system and the system that needs companies have developed is the most costly, wasteful, complicated and bureaucratic in the entire world. everybody knows that. with 1300 private insurance
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companies and thousands and thousands of different health benefit programs all designed to maximize profits, private health insurance companies spend an incredible 30% 30% of every health care dollar on administration and billing on exorbitant ceo compensation packages, on advertising lobbying, and campaign contributions. this amounts to some $350 billion every single year that is not spent on health care but is spent on wasteful bureaucracy. it is spent on bureaucrats and insurance company telling us why we can't get the insurance we paid for. and how many people today are on the phone arguing with insurance companies about trying to get the benefits that they pay for?
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it is spent on staff and a physician's office who spent all of their time debating claims they are not treating people. they are cementing grains. it is spent on hundreds of people working in the basement of hospitals who are not delivering babies, not treating people with cancer, not making people well. they are sending out bills. that's what we do. we send out bills. and we spent hundreds of billions of dollars doing that rather than bringing primary health care physicians into rural areas rather than getting the dentist that we need, rather than getting nurses that we need. madam president, let me just give you a few outrageous examples. every one knows that this country is in the midst of a major crisis in primary health care. we lack doctors, we lackner says we lack dentist. a major major crisis getting worse every single day. yet scott while we are enabled
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to produce those desperately needed.there's an nurses and dentists, we are producing legions, legions of insurance company bureaucrats. and here is a chart which deals with that issue. what this chart shows is that over the last three decades the number of administrative personnel come a bureaucrats who do not do anything to cure our illnesses or keep us well, the number of bureaucrats has grown by 25 times the number of physicians. this is insurance growth, nonexistent. this is health care bureaucrats on the phone today telling you why you can't get the health care coverage you paid for or telling you that you have a preexisting condition or throwing you off a health care because you committed the crime last year of getting sick. this is where our health care dollars are going and that is why we need a single-payer system.
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according to dr. rhino, let me give you another example, in testimony before congress duke university hospital, a very fine hospital has almost 900 billion clerks to deal with hundreds of managed care contracts. do you know how many beds they have in the hospital? they have 900 beds and they have 900 bureaucrats involved in billing for the 900 beds. tell me that that makes sense. madam president, at a time in the middle class is collapsing into millions of americans are unable to afford health insurance, health premiums are soaring as though the profit of health insurance companies. in 2003 to 2007, the combined profits of the nation's major health insurance companies increased by 170%. and while more and more americans are losing their jobs, the top executives in the industry are receiving lavish compensation packages. in 2007, despite plans that cost
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3% to 4% of their workforce johnson & johnson found the cash to pay ceo bill weldon dirty $1.4 million while ron willens took home $38 million. and on and on it goes. madam president let me briefly describe the main features of a medicare for all single-payer systems. and this is, let me briefly describe what's in the bill. in terms of access, people getting into health care, this legislation would provide that all necessary medical care without car sharing or other various good treatment. every american, not 94% 100% of american citizens would be entitled to care. in terms of choice, the issue is not choice of insurance companies that are republicans are talking about our
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republican friends talk about the question of choice and choice of doctors, choice of hospitals, choice of therapeutic treatments. and other single-payer legislation this would provide full choice of position and the license providers and hospitals. importantly, and i know there is some confusion here. a single-payer program is a national health insurance program which utilizes nonprofit, private delivery system. it is not a government run health care system. it is a government run insurance program. in other words people would still be going to the same doctors, still going to the same hospitals and the medical providers. the only difference is that instead of thousands of separately administered programs, running in out we just waste there would be one health insurance program in america for members of congress, for the purist people in our country for all of us. and in this process we save
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hundreds of billions of dollars in bureaucratic waste. in terms of benefits, what are you going to get? a single-payer or grant covers all medically necessary care, including primary care, emergency care, hospital services, mental health services descriptions, prescriptions, i care, dental care nursing home care as well. in terms of medical decisions those decisions under single-payer program are made by the doctors and the patients and not i'd bureaucrats and insurance companies. madam president, if we move towards a single-payer program we can save $350 billion figure due to administrative implication, those purchasing improved access to greater use of preventative services and early diagnosis of illness. people be able to get to the doctor when they need rather than wait until they're really sick and then go to the
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hospitals. third and importantly, like other countries with a national health care program would be able to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and end the absurdity of americans being forced to page two, three five times as much for drugs than other people around the world. madam president, every other industrial country on earth primarily fund health care from broad-based taxes in the same way we fund the defense department, social security, and other agencies of government. that is how we would fund a national health care program. not the insane way of millions of different kinds of funding sources, which creates a complicated system and enormous waste. and let me be specific. what this legislation would do is number one eliminate underline it eliminates, all payments to private insurance companies so people will not be paying premiums to united health while point through cost, and other private insurance
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companies. not 1 penny. the reason for that is that companies invest country would no longer exist. instead this legislation will pertain all of the tax revenue that currently flows into such public health programs as medicare medicaid, and it would add to that an income tax increase at 2.2% and a payroll tax of 8.7%. because payroll text would replace all other employer expenses for employee health care. in other words madam president employers in this country from general motors to a mom and pop store in rural america would no longer be paying 1 penny towards private insurance revenue. the income tax would take the place of all current insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles and all other out-of-pocket payments made by individuals. with the vast majority of people a 2.2% income tax is way
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less than what they now pay for all of those other things. in other words guess you would pay more in taxes. that is true. but you would no longer have to pay for private health care, private health insurance and at the end of the day for both a financial perspective and from a health security act, we would be better off as individuals in this nation. what remains in existence i should add here is the veterans administration. i believe most of us believe they have a separate set of issues. the va remains as it is. madam president let me bring my remarks to a close by giving you an example of where i think we should be going as a country in terms of help here. and oddly enough the process that i think we should be using is what a small country of 23 million people, the country of taiwan did in 1995. in 1995 taiwan was where we are
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now, massive dissatisfaction with the dysfunctional health care system. and they did what we didn't do. they said let's put together the best commission we can come of the smartest people that we know. it's go all over the world. let's take the best ideas from countries a look at the world. let's talk to michael chen, vice president, ceos national insurance bureau explained in an interview earlier this year the taiwanese ultimately chose to model their system, of their worldwide search after our medicare program. that's where they went, except that they chose to ensure the entire population rather than just the elderly. after searching the globe the taiwanese realize what many americans already know. a medicare for all single-payer system is the most effect way to offer quality coverage at a reasonable price. taiwan now suffers comprehensive to all of their people and they
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are spending 6% of their gdp to do that while we spend 16% of our gdp. but unfortunately, the single-payer model was not really ever put on the table. maybe we should learn something from our friends in taiwan. let me just end by saying this. this country is in the midst of a windows health care crisis, we all know that. we can tinker with the system, we can come up with a 2000 page bill which does this, that, and the other thing. but at the end of the day if we are going to do what virtually every other country on earth does, provide comprehensive universal health care in a cost effective way one that does not bankrupt our government or bankrupt individuals. if we're going to do that, you're going to have to take on the private insurance companies and tell them very clearly they are no longer needed. thanks for your service we don't need you anymore.
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and medicare for all program is the way to go. and i know it's not going to pass today. i know we don't have the votes. in a the insurance companies in the drug lobbyists will fight us to digest him about mark my words not a president, the day will come when the country will do the right thing. we will pass a medicare single payer for all system. >> i rise to make some observations about a matter that occurred here in the senate earlier this afternoon. mr. president, the plain language, the plain language of the senate president the manual that governs senate procedure is that unanimous consent of all members was required before the senator from vermont could withdraw his amendment while it was being read. unanimous consent.
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earlier today the majority somehow convinced the parliamentarian to break the long-standing precedent and with the senate in the reading of the bill. senate procedure clearly states and i quote, under rule 15, paragraph 1 and senate precedents and amendment shall be read by the clerk before it is up for consideration or before the same shall be debated unless a request to waive the reading is granted. it goes on to state that quote the reading of which may not be dispensed with except by unanimous consent. and if that request is denied, the amendments must be read and
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further interruptions are not in order. nothing could be more clear. you may have heard that the majority cites an example in 1992 when the chair made a mistake and allowed something similar to happen. but one mistake does not a president make. there is precedent for a senator being beaten with a cane here in the senate. if mistakes were the rule, then the caning of senators would be in order. fortunately, for all of the it is not. it is now perfectly clear that the majority is willing to do anything anything to jam through a 2000 page bill before the american people or any of us have a chance to read it.
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including changing the rules in the middle of the game. mr. president, i yield >> still in time for the holidays american icons on dvd c-span 3 original documentaries on the iconic columns the three branches of american government.
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the special three disc collection is only $24.95 plus shipping and handling. with this and other giftgiving ideas from c-span visit >> now in its second week to the united nations on climate change here from heidi level delegates. they developed economies in small island nations. the first speakers represented group at 777 developing economies plus china. this is about 40 minutes. >> so, once again i still think i still hope, hope is bright green that the future president of so many heads of state or states of comment in copenhagen will pave the way for a successful outcome. never before have so many world
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leaders come together to discuss a topic of such global importance as quite a change. for all their complexities and there are indeed blacks even challenges that accompany, any discussion on the global climate change. we are indeed one planet that share the same fate and we are all in this together. on behalf of the conference, i will therefore like to thank every one of you for joining us today. we will now begin hearing national statements for the joint high-level segment of our conference. we will begin with statements delivered on behalf of groups. with this i will now in light of our first speaker would like to address the conference. it gives me great pleasure to welcome to the conference his excellency mr. a female if he.
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assistant president of sudan and chair of china for 2009 will speak on behalf of the group of 77 and china. your excellency, you have the floor. [speaking in native tongue] >> mr. chairman, excellent is head of the states and governments. his excellency the primacy of denmark honorable ministers of litigation good morning. mr. chairman i direct this statement on behalf of the global 77 and china.
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let me now except and congratulate you on your election as president of the 50th of the congress. the congressional climate change of the conference of the parties serving as a meeting of parties to the protocol. let me also on behalf of the group of 77 and china suppressed to the people and the government of denmark are sounds of appreciation for their hosting of this historical event in the city of copenhagen. mr. chairman, two years ago in valley all parties agree to adopt the results of the awg kp in copenhagen as this decision of the conference of all parties serving as a meeting of the
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parties to the kyoto protocol. and thereby set up to trap a negotiation process. in this regard, the group has been working towards achieving the call mandate of the awg kp, which is specifically focuses on the legal requirements to define the second. under the kyoto protocol. in line with the séance the second commitment period must inscribe ambitious quantified emission. a reduction targets for developed countries beyond 2012 and an improved more efficient and effective state of rules in order to enable developed countries, parties to take the
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lead and significantly contribute to the minimization of the impact of climate change. however, we have seen that developed country parties to the kyoto protocol, sick to dismantle the protocol itself in favor of a single undertaking allied comprehensively but which is in reality much bigger and will effectively undermine the convention and its kyoto protocol. to this end, we have been, we have seen continual delays in our work, exemplified by the fact that the head of the gk be has not met a single deadline to
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reach the conclusions of the aggregate or individual emission reduction, which will agree to -- over a year ago. it is clear that these efforts are intended to undermine and reinvent itself. in particular, its foundational quality common but differentiated responsibilities are respective capabilities. mr. chairman, let us be clear that the group of 77 and china the guards the convention to gather with kyoto protocol and all we have taken in these
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instances as a comprehensive undertaking of the international community to address the global challenge of climate change. in this regard, the group wishes to distress they need to maintain that the two track outcome that the kyoto protocol is an essential instrument to enable developed country parties to the protocol for legal commitment of the convention of the u.s. emissions. mr. chairman for the sake of the well-being of our planet, and its people, the global 77 and china insists that a second commitment period and the kyoto protocol must be established
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beyond 2012 as it is for convertible emission reduction commitments among all developed country parts. we will oppose, we will oppose an agreement in copenhagen, which in any way results in kyoto protocol being superseded or made redundant. the second commitment period under the kyoto protocol is a minimum requirement for the group with two which an agreement in copenhagen will not be possible. mr. president, in valley we've also agreed to launch a comprehensive process to enable the full effect days and sustained implementation of the convention so a long-term cooperative action now up to and
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beyond 2012. in order to reach an agreed outcome, and adopt a decision by the 15th session of the conference of parties. mr. chairman, we have now reached the 15th session of the global 77 and china is ready to fulfill this mandate. however, the groups intensive efforts to engage collectively in this process would seriously humbled by a complicated multilayer process of consultation beginning in the second week of this session. mr. chairman we're trying to understand the objectives of this exercise which we suppose was meant to give the political
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world to a meaningful conclusion in this conference we feel that this lack of transparency in the way that decisions were being made to hold the slide level consultation to be discussed in these consultations left much to be desired. many of the 77 delegations and china, many of the 77 delegations have limited capacities and could not be presented in all the meetings. all of which are of great importance to the group. despite this development, the group continued to engage in the different drafting groups and informal groups that continued until the early morning. we made some progress in a few of the groups.
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but this process remains uncertain and delight of these linkages were the ongoing informal discussions. mr. chairman, we still keep the hope that we could reach a balanced outcome of all the elements of the party action plan for this. and we continue to engage constructively in the negotiations in order to reach amicable outcome decision. developing countries have the most to lose as this decision there are no concrete results of our discussions. particularly in the kyoto protocol, that's particularly if the kyoto protocol is undermined or just managed. we therefore are the most
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concerned that we do arrive at a successful outcome at the court on ten. they consider a shared view a sense based and founded on the convention in particular. the principles of equality in common with the differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. our shared vision must reflect the historical and the callous possibility of devolved countries for reduced climate change. the resulting climate debt to the developing countries and establish the conditions needed for a fair and just sharing of the most atmospheric results.
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mr. chairman, our shared vision including a long-term global goal for emission reductions is to enhance the full effect to sustained implementation of the convention tends to force in a balanced and comprehensive winner by addressing mitigation, adaptation, technology development financing and capacity building in an integrated way. it must ensure that there is an inclusive fair and equitable outcome that fully respects and supports the right to development and survival of developing countries. it recognizes and promotes the survival and development and the conditions for present and
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future generations as all countries and people and that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the fairest and overriding of developing countries. mr. chairman, the group of 77 at china calls for a comprehensive policy. guidance on adaptation, effective and institutional agreements and new additional scaled up long-term finance to enable the developing countries to address its immediate and long-term adaptation. mr. chairman, we are also concerned by the way litigation has been dealt a in copenhagen.
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issues under the party action plan paragraph 1 b. which deals with the litigation of countries have essentially stopped moving. this creates a lack of prominence at the heart of the negotiation process. we cannot have a copenhagen outcome without complete insufficient treatment of the mitigation under that particular paragraph. we want to get a positive result in all aspects of the bali action plan. we support the entire set of issues. we want to progress all the building blocks. we cannot accept a selective approach. mr. chairman, as we indicated to you at the opening of this -- as we indicated at the opening of
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the session the global 77 and china opens up the delivery process. we establish and maintain over the past two years. we believe that this approach allows the civilization of all issues under the valley planned and enables all parties to participate and bring in their interests and concerns regarding the dead agreed outcome of copenhagen. it is no doubt that if such approach is on the way to the death toand agreed outcome. we understand there is is a great amount of pressure to reach an agreement in
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copenhagen. i would like to assure you that all the parties that our group and all the parties that our group is highly committed to make this happen. however, we do have serious consents regarding the disorganization of decision and how the results of the ongoing will and the working groups will be considered and incorporated in the outcome of this conference. mr. chairman they are ready to assist you and your role as president to maintain a party driven open and transparent process that ensures the right of all the developing countries to participate fully in shaping the outcome of this conference. i thank you.
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[applause] >> okay, i would like to thank his excellency mr. naife ali naife and i would like to use this opportunity to emphasize that we indeed have to speak to all the rules agreed in this process, which include a time limit for interventions five-minute period so i hope you will respect that. and he gives me great pleasure to welcome to the conference his excellency mr. millis zanotti prime minister of the federal democratic republic of ethiopia who is speaking on behalf of the african group. turek's lengthy mr. millis zanotti, you have the floor. >> mr. prime minister, your excellency secretary of the united nations excellencies, ladies and gentlemen allow me to
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first of all thank our gracious host, the people and government of denmark for the broward reception we have had and for the excellent facilities put at our disposal. i would like to take this opportunity to thank our work and underappreciated ministers who have through their dedication and hard work kept the hope on climate change allies. you're excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, global warming is happening. the rise of catastrophic climate change is very real. the risk of catastrophic climate change is very wheel. the signs are as clear as they could ever be as to what the cause of such change are. it is no exaggeration to say that this is our best and
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perhaps our last chance to save our planet from the start to and unpredictable change. this is a test as to whether we are a global community are able to rise over our parochial interests to protect our common destiny. anyway, the climate change negotiations are about a lot more than merely addressing climate change issues here it they are test cases as to how humanity is likely to face the emerging challenge of the 21st century. as globalization transforms the world into single and tightly economic space how we manage global public goods such as environment without a world government is likely to become a defining issue of our new
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century. if our dialogue and compromise we succeed in addressing the threat of climate change, it would be reasonable to assume that we can manage similar challenges in our new century through collective efforts. if we fail to rise above the current challenge of climate change, we will then have proved that global economic our grass is based on a fundamentally dysfunctional global political system. sooner or later the economic edifice will have two come crashing down. it is therefore true that in more ways than one what is at stake here is the future of our species, the future of human civilization as we have come to know it. africa is keenly aware of the
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significance of climate change negotiations and the copenhagen summit. that is why for the first time since the establishment of the organization of the african union, africa has decided to speak with one voice into field a single negotiating team mandated to negotiate on half of all the member states of the african union. that is why all the delegations of african countries are at the summit to enforce the common negotiating team rather than negotiate on behalf of their individual countries. africa is -- and to lead the common negotiating team. i am immensely proud to be able to speak today not on behalf of my country but on behalf of the country as a whole. your excellent ladies and
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gentlemen, everyone of us knows that africa has virtually nothing to global warming but has been hit first and hardest. it has meant that for africans to damage of climate change is not something that could happen in the future. it's already here with us. so when misery. africa is in deep pain with the misery for the wealth and well-being that was created in the developed countries through carbon intensity development. that of course is fundamentally unjust. but we are not here as the dems, nursing our whims of injustice of the past. africa is a continent of the future. it is destined to be of the
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21st century. we are therefore not here as victims of the past, but as stakeholders of the future. reaching out across the continent so that together we can build a better and fairer future for all of us. not only has africa contributed virtually nothing to carbon emissions, but it is unlikely under any scenario to be as significant polluter in the future. africa is a green field that can and wants to chart a different choice. one that is not carbon intensive. to give just an example of my own country. we plan to sustain our current delegates of growth over the next 15 years so that by 2025 we
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become a middle income country. we plan to do so in a manner that would allow us to have zero net carbon emissions by 2025. our ambitions of africans are the same across the continent. when it comes to taking care of the environment we occupy the moral high ground and are indeed proud of it. but we're not here to bask in the glory of our high moral standards and pristine principles. we are not here to preach or grandstand. we are here to negotiate, to give them take in to seal a fair deal however messy such a deal might be. it is with this in mind that i
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wish to appeal to everyone to feel what we have in terms of carbon emission so that we would all have the chance to adapt to the new circumstances. it is also with this in mind that i wish to make the following specific proposals on finance on behalf of my african delegation. on startup funding shorter funding for the next two to three years i support the establishment of the fund of $10 billion for the years of 2010 to 2012 to be used to address urgent adaptation and litigation task including forrester he and to prepare plans for more ambitious pro-grams later on.
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i propose that the start up funding should be put in a trust fund to be administered by a board of trustees composed of equal number of donor and recipient countries. and see a demand that 40% of the startup fund be earmarked for africa and request that the fund for africa be administered by the african bank and the board of trustees that i mentioned earlier. and forth i ask for the establishment of the committee of experts to work out the details of the points i have outlined about the view to launching the fund by mid next year and ensuring quick disbursement thereafter. on long-term financing i propose a batch funding for adaptation and mitigation should
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stop by 2013. ..
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up with a reliable system of funding achieving the targets set for ourselves and report their report within six months. on the management of the farm a proposed that the fund for adaptation and mitigation be established under the authority of the conference of the parties, which should determine access criteria, broad parameters of allocation of the fund etc.. that the board of trustees composed of equal number from the developed and developing countries established to oversee the day-to-day management of the fund. and that the fund -- the share
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of africa of the font, administered by the african development bank. your excellencies, i know my proposal today will disappoint some africans who from the point of view of justice have asked for full compensation of the damage done to our development prospects. mauney proposal scales bac our expectation with regard to the liberal funding. in return for more reliable funding and a seat at the table in the management of the fund. i believe that is an important underlying principle here. africa loses more than most if there is no agreement on climate change. we lose more not only because our economy is more fragile but also our best days are ahead of us and lack of agreement could
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murder our future before it is even born. because we have more to lose than others we have to be prepared to be flexible and prepared to go the extra miles to others. that is exactly what my proposal is intended to achieve. there should not be doubt about our eagerness to compromise and said a deal. but such flexibility on our part should not be confused with desperation. africa is not prepared to accept empty words and agreements that undermine its fundamental interests and international treaties and agreements. we are determined to make sure that in copenhagen we will have an agreement that all of us africa include it, are happy with and obviously there will be no agreement for a new one.
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i ensure this is every one this is not to be affected is a promise by africa we will strive for a fair and just deal and nothing more or less than that. may i ask mr. chairman that my proposal be considered with a view to incorporating into the leadership of the summit might submit to us for final consideration. thank you for your kind attention to the [applause] i would like to thank his excelencia mr. meleszunawi for his statement in very concrete proposals. and it gives me great pleasure now to welcome to the conference his excellency prime minister of grenada who will speak on behalf
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of the alliance of small states. you're excellency mr. thomas, you have the floor. please. >> honorable prime minister of denmark, your excellency secretary general of the united states executive said psychiatry of the unsc, federal heads of government excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. it is not very often the entire world concentrates its diplomatic assets on one issue. aid is not very often leaders from countries as cuba in the pacific, and ghana and africa, poland brazil, united states and americans come together to fight and succeed at a common
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cause. it is not often that leaders from 120 countries come to the table to seek collective solution to a common challenge. today, ladies and gentlemen, represents one of these unique occurrence is to read the entire world including my own tiny island, grenada and the rest come together to find solutions to our common climate problem we must do so and a participant remember. ladies and gentlemen those of us gathered here today have the unique responsibility to act. we must act now, ladies and gentlemen because there are millions of people depending on us to provide them with
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assurances that their homes livelihood communities and countries will not be swept away in the wave of climate change. they are depending on us to provide assurances that life dependent ecosystems and the ecosystem goods and services are preserved for this and future generations. they are depending on us to act to protect our plan at. we must act now because some of us on sali island states have no choice. for many of our states already experienced in the devastating impact climate change. we must act now, ladies and gentlemen, because if we do not history will not of salles false because we will have abandoned
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our planetary responsibility. today represents the accommodation of two years of work which we studied in bali in 2007. in bali we set ourselves a historic task our goal today is to complete the task. our job today is to ensure the two tracks we embarked upon in bali, one under the kyoto protocol and the other under the convention or each brought to its separate but complementary conclusion. ladies and gentlemen if we are to fulfill this historic responsibility we have to take ambitious and robust decisions which can set the world on a path that will prevent the dangerous impact of climate change. such a path must include deep and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in line
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with requirements of the science that is reduction in excess of 45 degrees -- 45 degrees compared to 1999 levels by 2020 with a global emissions peaking no later than 2015. this will ensure we perceive a path that will restrict long-term temperature increases to below 1 degrees celsius above the preindustrial levels. over 100 countries have committed to this. to achieve such levels our country's the developed and developing have to take strong measures to achieve these emissions reductions in keeping with the principal of common but differentiated responsibilities. this would also ensure adequate, technical and financial support
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is provided to fall when all countries including small island states and less developed countries and the countries in africa affected by drought and desertification. to enable us to respond to the impact that are already happening, to build climate brazillian societies and economies, and to provide prominent loss and damage that results from climate change make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, some countries have already begun the process of migration and relocation. mr. chairman, i assure you that we come here ready to work. we want to leave here with strong international legal finding out comes that welcome everyone to action.
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we issued the call to all of our partners to join this effort to make this unique opportunity before us one that truly counts, one that will fulfill hopes and aspirations of the millions of people who are watching us now and depending upon on us to do the right thing. one that will ensure that we achieve the goal of 1.5 to stay alive. let us ensure no island is left behind. thank you very much. [applause] >> state department special representative stephen wadsworth today said he does not know if north korea leaders in the country. the ambassador spoke with reporters earlier today for almost 20 minutes. >> [inaudible conversations]
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good afternoon, everyone. welcome. as you can see we have ambassador bosworth to talk about his recent visit to the east asian region with regard to north korea. so without further ado i will turn it over to ambassador bosworth three >> thank you robert. good afternoon tree. good to see you. i think before i comment specifically on the trip to pyongyang i might try to put some of this into a longer and broader context. as we are aware when the obama administration came into office it was prepared to engage comprehensively with north korea. unfortunately that did not occur. the north koreans took a different route and fired a
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missile in defiance of u.n. security council resolution 1718 and then they conduct a second nuclear test, which of course was met by further action on the part of the international community with the passage and security council of resolution 1874. so in affect this trip to pyongyang was the first senior level encounter between the obama administration and the dprk. as i has said in seoul and elsewhere on the road i found the talks were quite positive. the atmosphere in particular was very matter-of-fact, businesslike. there was not a lot of heated rhetoric. the differences that exist were
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clear. but it also was important we establish some areas of convergence where our views were quite similar. in particular they accepted the importance of the six party process. and they accepted the critical role of the joint statement of principles of september 2005. so in that area there was very substantial progress in the house i say the attitude, the mood, the atmosphere was very businesslike, very matter-of-fact and very much looking to the present and future. we didn't spend a lot of time examining the past, and i felt that probably was appropriate since i don't think that we would have been able to reconcile our respective views of the past. as we've been trying to be very forward looking.
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as to where we go next, that is a subject for ongoing consultation with our partners in the six party process. the chinese of course as the chair of the six-party talks will be taking the initiative to coordinate all of us over the next few weeks and i would expect this process will move forward. i think with that i would take some questions to the extent there are questions. >> if you would identify yourself and the news organization you are with. >> from cnn to beat thank you ambassador bosworth. there are reports that have been confirmed that he carried a letter from president obama to kim jong il. can you confirm that or give details which might have been about? >> no, i'm going to take the position i took when i was asked this question in seoul which is
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i am the message were i was the message. what others have said is up to others. >> i have a related question to follow one charlie wilson from cbs. did you bring back a letter? >> i can confirm i did not bring back a letter. >> ambassador jones, u.s. positions have always been of course to return the six-party talks in the north koreans have been very interested in getting some kind of discussions with the u.s. and wanting to negotiate with u.s. specifically on a bilateral basis. you said they accept the six party idea. how will this play out what kind of meeting will there be with the u.s. in the context of the six party would with the north koreans accept? >> they did not challenge our assertion that this meeting took place within the framework of
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the six party process. we had consulted in coordinated extensively with other members of the process over the last few months, and everyone understood this wasn't a negotiating session. we were going to have exploratory discussions aimed at restarting the six party process and the basis of that is accepted by the dprk. >> cnn. thank you for doing this today. i would like to ask something we've asked previously on voice and based on your assessments and talks so far, given everything that's happened do you sense a strategic decision on the part of north korea to give up its nuclear weapons use even as you're talking to the
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north koreans the last few days we heard about a ship that was coming from north korea possibly downed for iran with weapons shows there's still proliferating a good chance any way and that doesn't really indicate a strategic importance. on the other hand we just heard about some business executives in north korea. they do seem to want to bring open themselves up. but in the idea of giving up the nuclear weapons they don't seem to have made that strategic decision. i was just wondering why you think about that. >> i think it will require a strategic decision. and i am not party to their strategic decision making process i think our task as we move forward is to try to inform that process in such a way they come to conclude they are able to give up their nuclear weapons and guide them through discussions, through dialogue guide them to the right
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decisions. but i am unable to say whether they have made the strategic decision were not made that strategic decision. >> if i could quickly follow up. if they haven't made that decision then are the talks in good faith and do you think they could -- the talks have been going on several years and previous ad maceration and there was progress at some point but do you think do you reasonably believed the talks will if they are to continue will lead to the denuclearization of north korea? >> i think that is that prospect whether that happens or not depends upon the content and the results of the talks. we can't predetermine before we began with the result is going to be. we can have a clear goal, which we have done and we've made it clear we are not prepared to negotiate now with north korea as a nuclear weapon state for example. but the point of engagement in my judgment is to try to change
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the other side's view of its own self-interest and here we spent a good deal of time during the discussions in pyongyang elaborating and sketching out to them the ideas of this administration including the quote tin from both president obama and secretary clinton has to the kind of bilateral relationship that we could have always provided that north korea proceeds on this road to the denuclearization. >> ambassador bosworth, from bloomberg news do you have any sense -- when you mentioned the chinese are calling to try to organize you and your partners in the coming weeks what is there to organize? i mean is there an agreement for
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all six parties to sit down and talk or is that what you're discussing the loan of five of you -- give north korea set any conditions for resuming the six-party talks? >> i think i will stay where i was. they have agreed on the importance of the six party process and indicated they would like to resume the six party process. the have agreed on the essentials nature of the joint statement of 2005. the other participants in the process see the situation in the same way. we all want to get back to the negotiating table but when and how that might come about is something i can't answer right now and it will be the subject of ongoing consultations with in this case by the chinese. >> dave alexander from reuters. do you anticipate he will have
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another meetings with north koreans before the start of the six-party talks and can you address the issue of the plan and thailand -- [inaudible] >> first we have not agreed on a subject on the second meeting. in fact we didn't really discuss it. i wouldn't rule it out but i wouldn't rule it in either. on the other hand we have specified that this meeting took place on the effect of the six party talk as to the plan as you know the facts are still being developed. we think this is a good example of why sanctions are effective and the importance of sanctions. and this process will play out in the procedures of the united nations to read it will go to the sanctions committee etc. and the u.s. obviously will follow this with interest. >> meshaal with national public radio. i wonder if you can elaborate
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what does it mean when you say i was the message and the fact that you apparently didn't meet with kim jong il or they sending you a message by not meeting with you? >> in my experience, kim jong il has met with two american officials both of whom were somewhat of both my status. one was the secretary of state madeleine albright when she met with him, and the offer was for our president bill clinton. he does not meet with a lot of people. he meets with bond north koreans very rarely. so we did not -- i did not ask to meet with him, and i did not meet with him. what it means when i say i am the message or i was the message i was conveying very directly to the north korean leadership and vision for the future which would be a lot different than the one than the present or past and ways in which we could improve both our bilateral
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relationship and improve north korea's overall relationships within northeast asia always provided they are prepared to move where the goal of the denuclearization. >> thank you. bg press. mr. ambassador how much did you discuss about peace treaty issue? did they demand that issue has to be resolved before they decide to return to the six-party talks and how are you going to handle the issue? >> welcome the commitment to move toward a new arrangement, a peace treaty on the korean peninsula is a commitment that all six parties accepted in the joint statement of september 2005. so when they say that they view that as an important element i can say with great sincerity so do we. clearly all of the -- when we come back to the six-party talks one of the first challenges is going to be to agree on an
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overall sequencing of the move to a peace treaty. the provision of energy and economic assistance. normalization of relations, the establishment of some sort of structure for northeast asian security. all of these are in play. not all of them are going to be the subject of discussion among all six. but all these things are important. we have all said we want to move ahead on those. so yes we talked about all these issues. we talked specifically about what kind conditions would be necessary to move into a peace treaty negotiations etc.. >> they are not going to negotiate on that issue before the resumption of the six-party talks? >> no camano. we are not now going to negotiate on these issues until we are back at the table and six
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party framework and then as i explained to the north koreans there is ample opportunity for continued bilateral engagement and dialogue. under the framework of the six party process. >> falling on that question has the u.s. and north to the ideal to the peace treaty matter with four country platform including china and south korea? >> dealing with what? >> this peace treaty. >> only four of the countries would be directly involved in a peace treaty negotiations. and that is well understood by all parties >> did you discuss the program for the prospect of a third nuclear test? >> they agreed that the subject of the uranium enrichment program is on the agenda for when we resume talks about denuclearization. since they put it on the agenda.
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>> and the potential for that? >> i urge them not to do any more of that sort of thing. >> [inaudible] do you have a plan to get together on the six-party talks? >> we have no plans to do that at the moment, no. >> we are going to take more questions. >> there is a report that the north korea did ask for lifting the sanctions by the u.n. and could you confirm that? >> i think the north koreans are always looking for a lift of sanctions but that is a decision taken by the international community specifically by the security council and i think that's where i will leave my answer other than to say in the language of 1874 formulas clear.
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they come back to the six party process, we resume progress on the denuclearization and then the council will evaluate the status of the sanctions. >> thank you. john from radio free asia. did you come from north korea's iranian enrichment program or facility? >> i think i just responded to a question of the uranium enrichment program. it clearly will be on the agenda when the talks resume. they've put it there by making a public announcement they've concluded the first experimental phase of the uranium enrichment program. let me just as we finish let me stress again in my swing from the region from seoul to beijing
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to tokyo to moscow i found very strong agreement that the unity of the five is very important in trying to deal with north korea. and i found there is strong support for continuing to enforce the sanctions and there was also a strong view that it had been useful for the united states to take on this direct contact with the north koreans in the context of the six party framework. so i think it's been useful and move things forward. i would like to be able to be more precise about a timetable for the future but at this point i am not able to be. so anyway, thank you. >> we will take a few minute breaks. [inaudible conversations]


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